Black’s New Single Debuts at No. 43

After departing from longtime label RCA, Clint Black has found immediate success with his first single on his own imprint. “Spend My Time,” released on Equity Records (which Black co-founded with former Sony exec Mike Kraski), debuts at No. 43 on the Billboard country singles chart. It marks his highest chart debut since 1997. Meanwhile, the accompanying studio project is due in February 2004.

Black leads the way for a number of singles appearing for the first time. Buddy Jewell’s “Sweet Southern Comfort” arrives at No. 47, with Tim McGraw’s “Watch the Wind Blow By” at No. 48. Tracy Lawrence’s first single on DreamWorks, “Paint Me a Birmingham,” bows at No. 56, followed by Sheryl Crow’s “The First Cut Is the Deepest” at No. 57 and Rebecca Lynn Howard’s “I Need a Vacation” at No. 58.

At the top of the singles chart, Gary Allan’s “Tough Little Boys” resides at No. 1, immediately followed by Keith Urban’s “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls” and Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar” — just like last week. Rascal Flatts’ “I Melt” moves up one spot to No. 5.

Pat Green’s “Wave on Wave” climbs to No. 6, followed by three previous No. 1 hits: McGraw’s “Real Good Man,” Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and Dierks Bentley’s “What Was I Thinkin’.” After more than six months on the chart, Billy Currington’s debut single “Walk a Little Straighter,” enters the Top 10 at No. 10.

Jackson’s Greatest Hits Volume II and Some Other Stuff remains lodged at No. 1, followed for the second week by Martina at No. 2 and Allan’s See If I Care at No. 3. Shania Twain’s Up! jumps to No. 4 as Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around falls to No. 5.

Just Because I’m a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton notches an impressive No. 6 debut. The all-female tribute album features Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Shania Twain and Parton herself. Keith’s Unleashed climbs to No. 7, followed by Rascal Flatts’ Melt, Emmylou Harris’ Stumble Into Grace and Totally Country Vol. 3.

Josh Turner’s album Long Black Train debuts at No. 19, while the title track rises to No. 29 on the singles chart. Rodney Hayden’s Honesty bows at No. 50, and his single “Honesty (Write Me a List)” gets an Airpower notation at No. 20. The Party Never Ends: Songs You Know From the Times You Can’t Remember, a compilation of early Robert Earl Keen material, bows at No. 68.

Craig Shelburne has been writing for since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.